"NOAA's outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years," said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco.
Officials predict four to eight of those named storms will reach hurricane strength, meaning winds of 74 mph or higher, and one to three will become major hurricanes with winds reaching 111 mph or higher, meaning Category 3 to 5.
The outlook for the Pacific basin season is predicted to be normal to below normal, with a chance of 12 to 18 named storms. Five to nine of those storms will be hurricanes, and two to five will be hurricanes at Category 3 or higher.
The season begins June 1, but there have been three storms already; Tropical Storm Alberto, which formed off the coast of South Carolina; Tropical Storm Aletta and Hurricane Bud, which is currently a Category 2 hurricane churning off the coast of Mexico in the Pacific Ocean.
A major hurricane, a Category 3 storm or stronger, has not made U.S. landfall since 2005 with Hurricane Wilma. Last year, Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm when it made landfall.
This is also the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, the Category 5 hurricane that devastated southern Florida on Aug. 24, 1992.
"But regardless of the outlook, it's vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared," Lubchenco said.